NEW YORK (AP) - At 74, the Queen of Soul has decided to take it a little easier.
Aretha Franklin is planning to retire this year, she told Detroit TV station WDIV Local 4, the city's NBC affiliate. The singer says she has one more album planned, with several tracks produced by Stevie Wonder, and will otherwise limit herself to "some select things" as she devotes more time to her grandchildren.
In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal’s Christopher John Farley, the Queen of Soul spoke about the success of her recent album, her thoughts on current and past “divas,” and negotiations over her upcoming biopic.
Farley had a broad list of questions, which brought us to some awkward places when Franklin made it clear she didn’t want to discuss some things.
The use of “auto-tune” by some singers was something to which Franklin hadn’t given much thought. Farley wanted to know what Franklin thought of younger artists using the device.
AF: “What is auto-tune? I don’t even know what auto-tune is.
WSJ: “It’s a kind of way of electronically adjusting your voice ..."
AF: “Oh, please.”
WSJ: “…so it doesn’t sound pitchy - it doesn’t sound wrong…”
AF: “Oh that’s ridiculous.”
Other interview highlights:
Farley asked about Franklin considering the ballet as a career choice – “I love the ballet.”
About her thoughts on Nicki Minaj – “Hmmm. I’m going to pass on that one.”
Her thoughts about President Obama’s performance in office – “It’s really not for me to say.”
About her upcoming biopic – Franklin can see Jennifer Hudson or Audra McDonald playing the role.
We kick of the first Artpod of 2012 with an appearance by none other than the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.
I interviewed Franklin last month about her search for the next great opera star. That's right, opera star. Franklin wants to get in on the singing contest circuit, and she's turning her searchlight on the world of classical music.
As we reported earlier this week, Aretha Franklin is searching for the next great opera singer. If you're 18-40 years old and classically trained, the Queen of Soul wants to hear from you:
"Some of the older classical singers like Jessye Norman, and Leontyne [Price], Barbara Hendricks...they are retiring, they’re not singing anymore, and I’d like to see some younger singers come along and take their place," explains Franklin.
The event will be held at General Motor’s parking lot adjacent to the Renaissance Center on Atwater Street.
The gates will open at 10 a.m. for Obama’s speech, which is expected to begin at 1:15 p.m. The public should expect to go through airport-like security and should bring as few personal items as possible. No bags, sharp objects, chairs, umbrellas, liquids or signs will be allowed inside the speech area.
Last December, there was a lot of speculation about Aretha Franklin's health after she went into a hospital for undisclosed reasons. People held a prayer vigil, and there was speculation the soul singer had cancer.
Now she's back. Last February the AP reported she had "revamped her diet, giving up her beloved chitterlings, pigs' feet and ham hocks in favor of a Whole Foods-type diet."
She's getting ready to release a new album and is planning a hometown concert.
From the Associated Press:
Almost five months after undergoing serious surgery, hall of fame singer Aretha Franklin is coming out with a new album and has scheduled a hometown concert.
The 69-year-old Queen of Soul will play DTE Energy Music Theatre on Aug. 25. It's in Clarkston, north of her native Detroit.
And Franklin's new CD, "Aretha: A Woman Falling Out of Love," will be released in Wal-Mart stores on Tuesday.
The music legend underwent surgery in early December in Detroit for an undisclosed ailment. Since then, she's lost more than 80 pounds. Franklin says the weight loss was because of a change in diet and exercise.
She canceled several performances last year because of illness, but her show at DTE is one of a handful she has booked for this spring and summer.
He didn't liken the proposed state budget to an atomic bomb this time around, but Lt. Governor Brian Calley continues to talk about the big changes Governor Snyder is seeking with his budget proposal.
The Snyder Administration will unveil the budget proposal to the State Legislature this Thursday. The Muskegon Chronicle wrote about Calley's remarks made on Saturday:
Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley told the Muskegon County Republican Party that Gov. Rick Snyder's first proposed budget to be unveiled Thursday to state legislators will make good on the promise of “shared sacrifice” and a taxing system that is “simple, fair and efficient.” He said the first weeks of the Snyder administration has laid the groundwork for the most extensive change in public policies this state has seen in generations.
Detroit Symphony Orchestra talks continue
The DSO is trying to avoid a cancelation of its entire season with stepped up talks between management and the striking musicians. Both sides were negotiating over the weekend, the Detroit News reports:
While both sides were tight-lipped Sunday, musicians spokesman Haden McKay did confirm late this afternoon that talks that began Friday to end the work stoppage and avert cancellation of the rest of the 2010-11 season were still ongoing.
Friday and Saturday's talks were indirect, with each side making its case to an unnamed intermediary, who then communicated it to the other party in a form of shuttle diplomacy. McKay did not specify whether today's talks were face-to-face or indirect.
Aretha Franklin Honored
Aretha Franklin was honored last evening at the 53rd Grammy Awards. The Detroit News writes:
A noticeably slimmer Aretha Franklin appeared in a videotaped message at the 53rd Grammy Awards, following a tribute to the singer that kicked off today's awards show. She thanked fans for their support since her "hospitalization" but didn't get into any specifics of her illness, and she apologized for not being at the ceremony in person. "Next year, OK?" she said.
A video of what some of the artists think of Aretha:
"A relative of Aretha Franklin tells reporter Al Allen that the icon has cancer. Another relative says the family is very concerned. At this time Franklin's family says she is doing "OK", but they are asking for the continued prayers and thoughts from the community."
Aretha Franklin underwent surgery in Detroit last Thursday. Neither she nor her publicist would say what kind of surgery Franklin was going in for or the nature of the illness.